Breaking News: Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy is pursuing Kevin Feige because she knows he is a die-hard Star Wars fan. Alan Horn, Walt Disney Studios Co-Chairman recently told the Hollywood Reporter that it just makes sense that these two extraordinary producers work on a ‘Star Wars’ film together.
Feige had discussed a foray into the Star Wars universe in a late summer meeting with Kennedy and studio co-chairmen Alan Horn and Alan Bergman, sources say. With the end of the Skywalker Saga, Kathy is pursuing a new era in Star Wars storytelling.
Some see this move as a prelude to a larger role for Feige within Lucasfilm, while others say it merely reflects his passion for the franchise. A top Disney source says Kennedy remains in charge with no plans for any changes. One knowledgeable source says Feige has told a major actor that there’s a specific role he would like that person to play if and when he makes the movie.
However, with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker set to hit theaters Dec. 20, it is understandable that Disney would like to keep as much about the future of the franchise under wraps as possible. Skywalker, otherwise known as Episode IX, is the final installment of the series that was first launched by George Lucas in 1977. Lucasfilm hops to win back fans after the last sequel trilogy entry, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, divided audiences, even though reviews were largely positive and the film grossed $1.3 billion worldwide.
Kathleen Kennedy has been president of Lucasfilm since 2012. She is one of the very few women in top executive jobs at Disney, even though she was picked for the job by Lucas before he sold his company for $4 billion that year. In September 2018, she renewed her contract for three years.
So far, the four Star Wars films produced for Disney have grossed almost $4.5 billion. Feige has presided over a seamless rollout of one Marvel hit after another, while reinvigorating the Star Wars franchise has not been a smooth process. Gareth Edwards was effectively sidelined as the helmer of the troubled 2016 film Rogue One, with Tony Gilroy shooting the third act. The film went on to become a hit, generating strong reviews and $1.1 billion worldwide.
In June 2017, Kennedy fired directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller during the production of the prequel film Solo amid concerns about their improvisational style. Ron Howard stepped in to finish the film, which grossed $392.9 million and became the first Star Wars pic to lose money. In September 2017, Jurassic World filmmaker Colin Trevorrow was dropped as director of Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker and replaced by J.J. Abrams, who successfully relaunched the franchise in 2015 with The Force Awakens. Disney chairman Bob Iger conceded in a recent New York Times interview that the studio had made mistakes. “I just think that we might’ve put a little bit too much in the marketplace too fast,” he said
While Disney and Lucasfilm have scaled back development of Star Wars movies in part due to the poor performance of Solo, it is still working on future movies. Both Last Jedi helmer Rian Johnson and Game of Thrones showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff are working on feature projects set in the Star Wars universe. And with Disney ramping up its streaming service Disney+, Lucasfilm will be an important piece of the puzzle. Jon Favreau’s live-action Star Wars space Western, The Mandalorian, is set to premiere Nov. 12, and a Rogue One prequel series is in the works, as is an Ewan McGregor-led Obi-Wan Kenobi series.